by Andrew Crawshaw
The matches within the four groups that form the last 16 of the Women’s Champions League commence this week
The clubs involved are:-
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Chelsea||Breidablik Kopavogur||Arsenal||Bayern Munich|
|Juventus||PSG||FC Barselona||BK Häcken FF|
|Servette FC Chēnois||Real Madrid||HB Køge||Olympic Lyonnais|
|Vfl Wolfsburg||Zhilstroy 1 Kharkiv||TSG 1899 Hoffenheim||SL Benfica Lisbon|
Our matches are
- Tuesday 5 October – FC Barcelona (Away) 20:00
- Thursday 14 October – Hoffenheim (Home) 20:00 at Borehamwood
- Wednesday 10 November – HB Køge (Away)17:45
- Wednesday 17 November – HB Køge (Home) 20:00 at Borehamwood
- Thursday 9 December – FC Barcelona (Home) 20:00 currently at Borehamwood
- Wednesday 15 December – Hoffenheim (Away) 20:00
Every match in the competition from this round to the final is being live streamed free of charge following a deal struck by UEFA with the streaming service DAZN through their You-Tube channel.
In addition arsenal.com have signed up to carry the coverage of all Arsenal games on the Arsenal Player platform so we will all be able to watch these games free of charge. Watching on television really isn’t the same as being at the ground to watch the games live and I would urge as many of you as possible to go to Borehamwood to get the full experience. Look out for tickets through arsenal.com.
As you can see from the above table our group opponents are FC Barcelona, HB Køge and Hoffenheim. Here is a brief introduction to the three teams and my assessment of how we match up with them on paper
The current champions, having beaten Chelsea in last year’s final very conclusively, Barcelona will undoubtedly be the strongest team we face in the group. The Wikipedia entry gives the following introduction:-
“Futbol Club Barcelona Femení is a women’s football team from Barcelona which was founded as Club Femení Barcelona in 1988. It is the women’s section of FC Barcelona. It is the most successful women’s football team in Spain, with six league titles, eight national cups, one UEFA Women’s Champions League and one Spanish supercup.”
Their squad consists of
|1||GK||ESP||Sandra Paños (3rd captain)||Y|
|4||DF||ESP||María Pilar León||Y|
|7||MF||NOR||Caroline Graham Hansen||Y|
|8||DF||ESP||Marta Torrejón (vice-captain)||Y|
|11||MF||ESP||Alexia Putellas (captain)||Y|
|12||MF||ESP||Patricia Guijarro (4th captain||Y|
Asisat Oshaola is an old Arsenal player and, as far as I am aware, the only ex Gunner in the Barcelona squad.
Barcelona play in the Spanish Primera Iberdrola and currently have a 100% record after four games. Here is the current League table (I have included Real Madrid as they are in group B and eliminated Manchester City from the competition.
They have a 24 player squad that has 17 full internationals and have a 26-0 goal record in their 4 league matches so far this season. A truly formidable opponent.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Again from Wikipedia
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Frauen is the women’s football section of German club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, based in Hoffenheim, a village of Sinsheim municipality, Baden-Württemberg, inside the Rhine-Neckar. The team currently plays in the Frauen-Bundesliga, the highest level of women’s football in Germany.
|1||GK||CRO||Martina Tufeković (de)|
|4||DF||GER||Michaela Specht (de)|
|6||FW||BEL||Tinne De Caigny||Y|
|10||MF||GER||Gia Corley (de)|
|13||DF||GER||Isabella Hartig (de)|
|17||MF||GER||Franziska Harsch (de)|
|18||MF||GER||Anne Fühner (de)|
|19||MF||GER||Judith Steinert (de)|
|22||DF||GER||Sarai Linder (de)|
|28||GK||GER||Lina von Schrader|
|33||MF||GER||Fabienne Dongus (captain)||Y|
Here is their domestic form this season
Hoffenheim have a smaller squad than Barcelona and with fewer international players (8 out of a 23 player squad. There is nothing in their form to suggest that they will prove more than a competent opponent.
HB Køge Kvindeelite, commonly known as HB Køge, (previously HB Køge Pigefodbold) is a Danish women’s football club based in Køge, Denmark. The club is currently playing in the Elitedivisionen and like the men’s team, they play their home matches at the Capelli Sport Stadion.
Wikipedia goes on to give the following update to their history
“In January 2020, the club entered into partnership with Capelli Sport and the American Football Academy Slammers FC. The goal for the team is to participate in the UEFA Women’s Champions League within five years and in the women’s section receive the same terms as the men’s team. The former football player and success coach from Brøndby IF Peer Lisdorf, was hired as new head coach for the team. In their first season in the Elitedivisionen, Lisdorf successfully led the club to Champions League qualification for the first time in their history whilst also winning their first top-flight title.”
Whilst they are undoubtedly the minnows in the group their American backing gives them a far bigger clout in Danish football than their size would suggest.
Their squad comprises mainly Danish with four young American players and a smattering of other nationalities.
|2||DF||DEN||Maria Uhre Nielsen (captain)|
|8||DF||DEN||Laura Guldbjerg Pedersen|
|18||DF||DEN||Nadja Brahe Andersen|
|22||DF||DEN||Isabella Bryld Obaze|
Their league table is
|2||Dbk Fortuna Hjoerring||7||5||2||0||19||6||13||17|
As I said – punching above their weight in Denmark but it would be a real surprise if they don’t end bottom of this group.
For completeness here is the Arsenal data in the same format and from the same sources:-
Arsenal Women Football Club is an English professional women’s football club based in Islington, London, England that was previously called Arsenal Ladies.
Arsenal are statistically the most successful club in English women’s football, holding the records for most titles won in each domestic competition they have played in. The club have won 15 League titles, 14 FA Women’s Cup, 5 FA WSL Cups, 10 Women’s Premier League Cups, 5 FA Women’s Community Shield, and are the only English club to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League. In the 2006–07 season, the club became the first in the history of women’s football to achieve the continental European sextuple. They are also the only English football club either male or female, to win the Continental Treble while going undefeated in all competitions played that same season.
|8||MF||ENG||Jordan Nobbs (vice-captain)||Y|
|10||MF||SCO||Kim Little (captain)||Retired|
|13||MF||SUI||Lia Wälti (3rd captain)||Y|
|20||DF||DEN||Simone Boye Sørensen||Y|
|13||MF||SUI||Lia Wälti (3rd captain)||Y|
WSL league table after 3 matches
Our squad is not as large as Barcelona but we have more international players. On paper we should be a match for them and far too strong for Hoffenheim and Køge and certainly it will be a surprise if we fail to qualify for the quarter finals as one of the top two teams from this group.
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